Home champions-league Dan Ashworth: 10 worst signings amid doubts Man Utd director target is worth astonishing compensation fee

Dan Ashworth: 10 worst signings amid doubts Man Utd director target is worth astonishing compensation fee

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Manchester United want to bring Dan Ashworth to Old Trafford and they are prepared to pay a record-breaking fee for the sporting director. 

Ashworth was recently put on gardening leave by Newcastle United and they are reportedly demanding £21million in compensation.

While the 52-year-old is regarded as one of the best directors in world football, he has had some notable misses in the transfer market.

We’ve taken a look at some of the worst signings he has overseen during his time at West Bromwich Albion, Brighton and Newcastle.

Note: we’ve not included the Sandro Tonali transfer as an internal investigation reportedly revealed that it would have been impossible for Newcastle to have known about his gambling addiction.

Gianni Zuiverloon

Zuiverloon was a key part of the Netherlands’ Under-21 European Championship-winning side in 2007 and moved to England a year later, joining a newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion side in a £3.2million deal.

He impressed in the early stages of his West Brom career but things went downhill quickly, and he made a series of calamitous errors as they finished bottom of the Premier League.

The right-back had an unsuccessful loan spell at Ipswich Town in the first half of the 2010/11 season and was released by the Baggies a few months later.

Reuben Reid

After scoring 18 goals in League Two in the 2008/09 season, Reid left Rotherham United and signed for West Brom in a £300k deal.

But a move to the Championship proved a step too far for the striker, and he failed to score a single goal in seven appearances for the club.

The 35-year-old – who now plays for Weston-super-Mare – had loan spells at Peterborough United and Walsall before joining Oldham Athletic on a free transfer in January 2011.

Somen Tchoyi

Tchoyi arrived at West Brom on the same day as Peter Odenwingie, but the pair had contrasting fortunes at the Hawthorns.

The former Cameroon international – who joined the club from Red Bull Salzburg in a £2.5million deal in 2010 – struggled with a lack of consistency.

He did show glimpses of his quality, scoring a second-half hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Newcastle United on the final day of the 2010/11 campaign.

But the winger had an overall record of eight goals and one assist in 47 appearances for the Baggies, and he was released at the end of the 2011/12 season.

Matt Clarke

The first signing of the Ashworth era at Brighton, Clarke joined the club from Portsmouth in a £3.5million deal in the summer of 2019.

He spent the following two seasons on loan at Derby County and then had another loan spell at West Bromwich Albion in 2021/22.

The centre-back joined Middlesbrough in a £2.25million deal in 2022, having failed to make a single first-team appearance for the Seagulls.

Aaron Mooy

Brighton bolstered their midfield options and signed Mooy on a season-long loan deal from Huddersfield Town in 2019.

“We always knew he was a really good player, we really liked him, tracked him for a while,” Ashworth said. “Huddersfield had been relegated, so they got him off their wage bill and Aaron was a proven Premier League player.”

The former Australia international made an impressive start to the loan spell and Brighton triggered the £5million option to buy in January 2020.

But he failed to replicate the form that saw the club sign him permanently and was replaced by Adam Lallana a few months later.

The midfielder made just 32 appearances for the Seagulls before joining Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG in August 2020.

Andi Zeqiri

Brighton reportedly fought off competition from Wolfsburg, Roma, Parma and Nice to sign Zeqiri from Swiss Super League side Lausanne in 2020.

But the striker made only 13 appearances for the Seagulls, scoring his only goal in a 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Cardiff City in August 2021.

He then had loan spells at FC Augsburg and FC Basel before joining Belgian side Genk in a £2.4million deal in the summer of 2023.

Michal Karbownik

Karbowinik won the Polish league title during his debut season at Legia Warsaw and his performances reportedly attracted interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Tottenham, Napoli, Dynamo Moscow, Sevilla, PSV Eindhoven, Real Betis and Celtic.

Brighton won the race for his signature in October 2020 after they paid a £3.5million transfer fee for the then-19-year-old.

“Michal is another exciting young player, who we are pleased to welcome to the club,” Ashworth said. “He is flexible in terms of position; he can play on the right or left side, at full-back or wing-back, and in midfield.”

The versatile defender failed to live up to his potential and his only two appearances for Brighton came in the domestic cup competitions.

He was shipped out on loan to Olympiacos and Fortuna Dusseldorf before being sold to Hertha Berlin at a slight loss in 2023.

Kacper Kozlowski

Kozlowski came through the ranks at Polish side Pogon Szczecin and made history at Euro 2020, becoming the youngest player to appear at a European Championship.

Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Ajax were among the clubs linked with the Poland international, but he joined Brighton in an £8million deal in January 2022.

“He is a bright young talent and we’re very pleased to have completed the signing of Kacper, who has made a lot of progress in his career at a very early stage,” Ashworth said.

The 20-year-old was sent straight out on loan to Belgian side Royale Union St-Gilloise and has spent the last two seasons on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, who are currently in the Eredivisie relegation zone.

Matt Targett

Admittedly, Newcastle United signed Hall on loan from Aston Villa before Ashworth officially took over at St. James’ Park in June 2022.

But Ashworth sanctioned the permanent transfer, paying Villa a £15million transfer fee and handing the left-back a £100,000-per-week contract.

He’s since struggled with a number of injury problems, making just 26 appearances in all competitions in the last two seasons.

The 28-year-old is also behind Dan Burn, Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall in the pecking order and faces an uncertain future at the club.

Lewis Hall

Hall left Chelsea and joined Newcastle on a season-long loan in 2023 and the deal included an obligation to buy for £28million, with a further £7million in add-ons.

According to reports, Ashworth played a key role in the deal and benefitted from his pre-existing relationship with Chelsea’s head of global talent and transfers.

While the 19-year-old is regarded as a brilliant prospect, it’s a lot of money for a player who had made just 12 first-team appearances for Chelsea.

The left-back has struggled to break into Eddie Howe’s side, making just four starts and a further seven substitute appearances in 2023/24.

READ MOREDan Ashworth: Ranking every permanent signing next Man Utd director made for Newcastle

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